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Stock market picks: AT&T earnings rise on strong wireless demand

AT&T, symbol T on New York, was the exclusive U.S. carrier for the Apple iPhone, until Verizon started selling it in February. However, AT&T is rapidly upgrading its wireless networks, which should help it hang on to its current iPhone customers.

Despite iPhone competition from Verizon, AT&T still activated nearly 3.6 million iPhones in the first quarter, with 23% of those being new customers for AT&T. In all, it sold 5.5 million smartphones in the quarter.

Besides the iPhone, AT&T is benefiting from rising use of other wireless devices, such as the iPad and electronic-book readers. The company added 2 million wireless customers in the quarter, and now has 97.5 million.

In the three months ending March 31, 2011, the stock market pick’s earnings rose 38.9%, to $3.4 billion, or $0.57 a share. It earned $2.5 billion, or $0.41 a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 2.3%, to $31.2 billion from $30.5 billion. Wireless revenue rose 10.2%; AT&T gets about half of its revenue by providing wireless services. Wireline (traditional phone services) revenue fell 3.2%.

AT&T is just one of the blue chip U.S. stock market picks we analyze in our Wall Street Stock Forecaster newsletter. You can get the latest issue absolutely FREE when you subscribe now. Click here to learn how.


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